Friends in our night

Hip-hop singer P.O.P. at the start of the night. (Photographer: Brendan Bannon)

P.O.P. heads out into Nairobi’s fast-changing night-time party scene

Nairobi’s character changes after the sun’s gone down. P.O.P and Richie Rich, hip-hop musicians with the city’s Ukoo Flani collective, tell Mike Pflanz how past midnight is not as you might imagine.

WESTLANDS, April 16, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – It’s way into tomorrow already, and the DJ at the Skylux club, on the 3rd floor of a nondescript office block, has packed the dance floor.

It filled up late – the Barcelona vs Real Madrid soccer game kept most of the partygoers in the pub longer than usual. But now the beats deepen, and the dance-floor darkens.

RICHIE RICH – Something new’s coming to Nairobi in the last five years. You know there’s a lot moving in this city, there’s construction, there’s new apartments everywhere, guys are feeling that there’s a hype about the place, it’s picking up. Money’s moving around. People have it, or they’re chasing it.

There’re people saying this is the New York of Africa, that we’re all moving so fast, there’s no time to stop. There’s two hustles in Nairobi – the daytime and the nighttime.

P.O.P – In the daytime, people are coming in from all around the city, other districts, they are selling things, they are working somewhere, then they go home. In the night-time, it’s for people really who live here.

In the day, everyone’s got their head down, moving fast, somewhere to go. There’s no time to talk. Maybe you don’t know anyone you see on the streets. Everyone’s slick, man. There ain’t no city with the percentage of slickers we got here.

Raychelle, 21, PR and advertising student  and Evans Ndega, model, dancing. (Photographer: Brendan Bannon)

Evans Ndega, model, and Raychelle, a PR student, at Westlands’ Skylux club

Night-time, there are familiar faces everywhere. We go to the same places, we know each other. This place, it’s more friendly in the night than in the day. I love the night.

RICHIE RICH – Every night, there’s something. Here you can be at the party from Monday to Monday. Even Monday, there’s a place that’s packed, you go in there and you’re like, damn, who are all these people packing this place on a Monday night?

Tuesday, there’s so many places. Wednesday, now it’s kicking. Thursday, man, I don’t know what happened to Thursday. It came up about a year ago and now it’s like another weekend day. I’ll be there at a party thinking, “There’s somewhere I gotta be in the morning”. Then you look around and see it’s going crazy. You can’t leave that.

Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. I can’t keep up. Guys are just throwing it every night here.

P.O.P. – You know this is the only city in Kenya that’s got class. Everywhere else, you get a guy he’s the boss of some company, rich as hell, but he with everyone else, wearing the same clothes, you can’t tell

Here even people from the ghetto dress expensive. They are down in the markets buying second-hand Hilfiger, second-hand Nike, second-hand whatever, all the stuff. Girls are spending little money and looking like they’re worth millions.

Man, people here dress to impress. You can look at her and think, man, is she from the slums or is she from some high-class neighborhood? You can’t tell. That’s Nairobi.


Related: Brendan’s full-size images of night-time Nairobi

© DAILY DISPATCHES: Nairobi 2011

One Response to “Friends in our night”

  1. brandon kelly says:

    This post is`nt so much in regards to your acomplishments on your project but more of a question about your project. Now when you think of a museum or an art exhibit, you think of a security guard, an admittance fee with large paintings and sculptures that the museums building seems to be constructed around. The reason it seems that way is because it’s intended that way. Museums purchase large canvases and sculptures for one reason, so they can display them to be seen. Who says though, that an art exhibit or a museum has to display their collection of art to be seen? Mr.Bannon and Mr.Pflanz have chosen to display their project in a completely different way from a typical art exhibit or museum. By printing poster size sheets of paper and displaying them around the walls, in which the benches don’t even face and the students don’t really seem to acknowledge. The Daily Dispatches project have taken an abstract way to publicize their project and the audience they`re trying to reach. Why did you two design your project and chose the location the way you did? Why not someplace more traditional? How is this going to impact the audience and viewers in whom you were trying to reach out to? And how is the audience’s attention you did grasp going to perceive the stories and photographs their project entails? These are some of the questions I will use to map out my thesis paper i am writting and explore your project further.